Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Etiquette and Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger

It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to finishing school. 
Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother's existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea--and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. 
But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right--but it's a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine's certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.
Okay, confession time. I have the first book in Carriger's Parasol Protectorate adult series and haven't actually gotten to read it yet. :) I had an opportunity to read her YA mostly out of curiosity. What was all the fuss about? I knew it was the same world (25 yrs prior to the other series) so I thought this would be a good place to start.

I was not disappointed. The writing, the whole tongue-in-cheek way of thinking and talking really had me smiling. It was fun. And I just really enjoy a book that is all about the fun. I really enjoyed the main character, Sophronia (although I'd love to hear it pronounced... not in my head... LOL). She was quite juvenile before going to the school, but in some ways reminded me of Anne Shirley (Green Gables). Someone who's curiosity is more than her common sense. In a time where women were seen as property, I always enjoy this type of rebellion. :)

Sophronia grows up fast and is put in a place that is quite confusing at first. In fact, I still don't know exactly what the school's end game really is, but oddly enough that never bothered me. Her time there has her realize her potential and Sophronia shines.  Her growth is exponential and while seeming almost 10 years old in maturity at first, she is quite grown up in just a few chapters. It's like a light went on within and she really shined at the school.

There is intrigue and adventure. Loved the secondary characters especially Soap. No real romance to speak of, but hints that it may come at a later time. I understand that this is the first in 4 books and I can't wait to start on the next. Oh and it has me wanting to dive into the other series even quicker.

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. I really enjoyed my time here and I recommend it to those that enjoy fun YA, inquisitive girls, or just want to get their feet wet in steampunk. I don't think you'd be disappointed.
I received this book from NetGalley and Little, Brown and no compensation for my review was given.

27 comments:

  1. I'm reading this one too and really enjoying it! I actually DID read her Parasol Protectorate series and although it lost some steam after a while, it was still pretty enjoyable. The worldbuilding is the same, which is what I always enjoyed the most, and I see that she continues the give her character odd names, which I also like very much.
    I kept expecting a romantinc interest to show up so it's good to know that there isn't one.
    Fantastic review, Melissa!

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    1. That makes me want to read the other series even more. :) Thanks!

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  2. Determined not to start any more books that are part of a series, I think I may have to make an exception for this.

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  3. I am so glad that you loved this! I know how much you like her writing :)

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  4. I read the Parasol Protectorate series and really enjoyed them! They are funny and thoroughly enjoyable. Definitely read them since the whole series is complete! So glad that I can expect the same with this series.

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    1. Oh I'm so going to read the PP series. Got to get them all then. :D

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  5. YAY! So glad you loved this one too Melissa, it was just such a fun little book. Like you, I really wasn't bothered by the fact that I didn't really understand what the purpose of the school was or why these young ladies needed to be spies, I just kind of went with the flow. Can't wait to see what trouble Sophronia gets into next!

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    1. I know! Usually stuff like that bugs me, but it didn't here at all. :) I also can't wait for the next book.

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  6. I have read the first book in her adult series. I need to add this one to my wish list. Thanks for the review.

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  7. Happy to see that high rating. I read the first book in the Parasol Protectorate and I liked it but wasn't head over heels for it. I think I will try this one and give this author another chance.

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    1. Hm... if you weren't head over heels, I don't know if this one would be for you. Those that enjoyed both seem to put them in the same category. However, YA does tend to run differently. Hm...

      Anyway it's fun. If you are in the mood for that, then maybe you'll enjoy it. :)

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  8. Oh I'm glad you liked it I'm waiting for my copy! you need to try her other series it's so fun!!!

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    1. I will! :)

      I can't wait to see what you think of it. :)

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  9. I am getting it for my bday! YAY

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  10. Yay!! Love your review SO much. This is exactly why I loved this book. I also need to read the Parasol Protectorate series, and I'm really glad I have so many of those books to tide me over until the next Finishing School book.

    Like you, I wasn't always quite sure what the purpose of the school was, but I just couldn't care, I was having too much fun!

    I can't believe I didn't think of the Anne Shirley similarity before! You are SO right! I think that's one of the reasons I loved Sophronia so much.

    Ahhhh, fabulous review! :-)

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  11. Love that you loved it! Her Parsole Protectorate series is great fun as well. You should try it too! :-)

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  12. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! I just bought it and am really looking forward to reading it. I read the first book in the Parasol Protectorate Series and LOVED it, but never continued with the series for some reason. I definitely need to go back and re-read all the books at some point. Fantastic review, Melissa! :)

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  13. LOL! I;m reading this right now and really am loving it. It definitely has what I thought it be and so much more.

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  14. I could never get into the adult series. I just didn't see the humor and didn't understand who was who. But maybe this series would be different. I enjoy schools that train women to be killers, spies, assassins. I might give it a try if you liked it so much!

    Heather

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  15. I'm at the very end of this right now! I'm LOVING it! I did read her other books and loved them as well. They are VERY similar, though heavier in content since they are adult. But the characters are similar personality wise. There are also crossover characters and one of my favorites from her other books is just a child in this one! LOVED that! I preordered this book MONTHS ago and squealed like crazy when it showed up like two weeks before it was released. But then I went to ALA and well, you know how it goes. At least I'm not reading it months after it came out, so I'm doing pretty good!

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  16. I have to admit I've not read the adult books either. But this sounds like fun as well. Thanks. And glad you enjoyed it. :)

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  17. I've only read the first book in the Parasol Protectorate books, but that was definitely enough to make me eager to try this one. I hope I can get my hands on it soon!

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  18. I really liked the first book in the adult series so I'm excited to check out this YA story since I tend to prefer YA.

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  19. It's a good thing that there isn't a lot of romance. I'm getting a bit tired of the books where the romance overpowers the real story. I haven't read her other series yet, but I'm planning to get started in this one and the Parasol series soon. I've heard so many great things :D

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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